* Slovenia's Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d. and Belgium's KBC Group NV have agreed to sell their respective stakes in the joint venture NLB Vita d.d. to insurance company Sava Re, subject to regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.
* U.K.-based companies Admiral Group PLC and Oakley Capital Ltd. and Spain's Mapfre SA mutually agreed to terminate an agreement to form a joint venture company. The decision to terminate the agreement was made due to challenges in completing the proposed transaction within a reasonable timeframe, mainly relating to antitrust complexity.
UK AND IRELAND
* Accounting firms KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Ernst & Young have set aside £162 million for legal claims and fines in the U.K. amid an investigation by the Financial Reporting Council into suspected failed audits, the Financial Times reported.
* AIB Group PLC said about 10% of its balance sheet is exposed to the U.K., making it vulnerable to a hard Brexit, The Irish Times reported. The company warned of how the two sides' differing starting positions could place a risk over a deal being reached.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale has received €2.8 billion from its state owners and savings banks Dec. 23 as part of a recapitalization package, the German lender said.
* In an interview with Die Presse, UniCredit SpA CEO Jean Pierre Mustier rejected rumors that there would be plans to sell UniCredit Bank Austria AG's retail banking business. UniCredit will remain in Austria with its entire business line, he said, although there will be job cuts about which the bank currently is holding talks with the trade union.
* UBS Group AG wants to increase the credit volume in its ultra-high-net-worth individuals division to 15% from currently 7%, which would bring a total of CHF200 billion more loans for the super-rich, Tages-Anzeiger wrote. The bank also seeks to more than double the number of clients in its global family office unit from currently 500 over the next couple of years.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* A decree published yesterday set out the characteristics of a new euro-growth fund desired by the French government and insurers, Les Echos reported. The new version of the contract will enable policyholders to better monitor the fund's performance and to compare its performance with other funds on the market more easily.
* Dutch ING Groep NV is reorganizing its private bank to save costs, possibly cutting 10% of jobs at the unit, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. The bank want administrative work to be automated and centralized.
* Dieter Haerens has been appointed CEO of the Belgian branch of BinckBank NV, De Tijd reported. He succeeds Stijn Ceelen.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Spanish banks closed a total of 553 branches in the third quarter, and the country's entire branch network dropped below 25,000 for the first time since 1980 at 24,855, Europa Press wrote, citing central bank data.
* The wife of the president of Portugal's Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo received €2,000 a year to provide "emotional stability" to her husband, Expresso and Jornal de Negócios reported. The newspapers said the payment to Licínio Pina's wife, which dated back to 2016, was halted after the central bank queried it, adding that the regulator asked for an explanation in the case after being tipped off in anonymous letters. Pina was recently re-elected president of the credit union until 2021.
* A former senior banker at Portugal's failed lender Banco Espírito Santo SA, José Maria Ricciardi, has accused former Prime Minister José Sócrates of having asked the bank in 2005 to buy a stake in power utility EDP, which was still partly owned by the state, Jornal de Negócios and Expresso reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA reshuffled its top management, with Raffaele Ruggeri becoming the new chief lending officer, replacing Marco Rottigni, who has been head of the international subsidiary banks, all dailies including MF reported. Saverio Perssinotto will become CEO and director general of asset management unit Eurizon Capital Sgr, replacing Tommaso Corcos, who will succeed Paolo Molesini as head of private banking. Molesini will become chairman of Fideuram Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking.
* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA delayed to Jan. 20, 2020, the sale of its real estate portfolio after receiving only one offer so far that value the portfolio at some €300 million, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.
* The depositor protection fund is working on a €500 million capital increase for Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA by the end of 2019 in a bid to restore the lender's capital ratios, all dailies including MF reported.
* The Bank of Italy authorized the rescue by Banca Popolare di Bari of Banca Tercas in 2014 even though the Bari lender did not have the strength to support an increase in its size, MF reported, adding that the central bank's inspectors already in 2013 gave a partially unfavorable view of Bari lender and reiterated this view again in 2016.
* London Stock Exchange Group PLC board member and Borsa Italiana SpA CEO Raffaele Jerusalmi said the Italian stock exchange is not for sale, Reuters reported, citing Il Sole 24 Ore.
* Aktia Pankki Oyj is set to purchase the remaining 24% stake of Aktia Asset Management Oy AB from Evergreen Holding. The bank will issue roughly 651,000 new Aktia Bank shares as consideration for the transaction to Evergreen shareholders, who are employees of Aktia Asset Management.
* Swedish banks are likely to lose almost 9 billion kronor in income in the coming six years due to new digital payment solutions from other companies, Realtid reported, citing a new report from Accenture.
* Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed the government is considering the purchase of the central bank's stake in PAO Sberbank of Russia, RBC reported. Reuters noted that the Russian government was considering using the country's National Wealth Fund to purchase the stake.
* Russia-based PJSC Sovcombank signed a binding agreement to purchase the local unit of Liberty Mutual Group Inc. The transaction is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2020.
* VTB Bank's first deputy CEO Dmitry Olyunin could leave his post, Reuters said, citing sources close to the bank. However, the executive himself told the newswire the rumors about his departure from the bank were "groundless."
* State Development Corp. VEB.RF said it agreed to acquire a 25% stake plus 1 share in non-state pension fund Non-State Pension Fund Blagosostoyanie.
* Turkey will set up a mortgage financing company to be called Birlesik Ipotek Finansmani AS, Bloomberg News reported. The Turkish Treasury will provide 500,000 Turkish lira as founding capital and will own a 5% stake in the company.
* A U.S. court rejected Türkiye Halk Bankası AŞ' plea to temporarily halt prosecution over sanctions evasion charges, Reuters reported. The judge ruled that the bank will not suffer irreparable harm if the case proceeded.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Tougher rules for smaller Chinese lenders; India's DHFL to resume operations
Middle East & Africa: New outlook on Nigerian lenders; management moves in Kuwait; stake sale in Egypt
North America: JPMorgan's Bear Stearns deal pays off; Santander to challenge fintechs in 2020
Global Insurance: Faxai, Hagibis claims estimates; Admiral cancels JV; Ping An appoints president
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Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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